Licensed aesthetician Cynthia Bradford (left) and stylist Gianina Pezzimenti (right) at Austin Springs Spa and Salon at the Carnegie Hotel will help Laura Begley with her makeup and hair on her wedding day. (contributed photo)
Editor’s note: Laura Begley and Matthew Bledsoe are the winners of the Dream Wedding package — valued at $25,000 — and will be married on Sept. 14, 2013 at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City. The Times-News has followed their wedding story throughout the year.
With only four weeks left until they say “I do,” the planning phase of Laura Begley and Matthew Bledsoe’s big day is quickly drawing to a close.
Laura and Matthew are the winners of the Dream Wedding presented by the Kingsport Times-News and sponsored by Sophisticated Smiles by Angela Cameron, D.D.S., P.C. Since learning they were the lucky couple in October, the two have been meeting with the vendors who will help make their special day a reality. Laura and Matthew have already met with Tricia’s By Design, the Carnegie Hotel, Anna Hedges Photography, Rainbow’s End Floral, Dress to Impress Bridal and Formal Wear, and The Cake Gallery.
Recently, Laura and Matthew met with Tina Ross and Tony Rodefer from Night Moves Mobile DJs to discuss the music for their ceremony and reception.
“Tony and Tina came and picked us up in their stretch limo. We were so anxious because even though we have had that ‘celebrity status’ throughout this whole Dream Wedding experience, the limo ride did it for us,” Laura said. “Matthew had never ridden in a limo, and the last time I had been in one was when I was 10 years old. So, it was definitely an awesome feeling.”
Tina and Tony took Laura and Matthew to a local restaurant in Kingsport for dinner where Laura says they ran into several people they knew.
“This was fun because we got to tell people the story of why we were in a limo!” she said.
Laura, a self-described list maker, says she and Matthew came to the meeting with Tina and Tony prepared.
“I had prepared songs for every single stitch of the pre-ceremony, ceremony and reception. Tony probably thought I was crazy, but I’ve had our wedding songs picked out since my and Matthew’s first date,” Laura said.
Laura admits she and Matthew had a few qualms about whether or not all of their guests would have a good time at the reception.
“I have a lot of older family members attending, and I have been so worried that they wouldn’t have a good time and that they’d want to leave early. But after meeting with the Night Moves team, I am confident that everyone will be dancing all night long,” Laura said.
Matthew is most excited about the song he and Laura selected as their first-dance song.
“We’ve chosen to dance to ‘On a Night Like This,’ by Dave Barnes. Tina said she has heard the song a hundred times, but she’s never done a reception where someone used it as their first-dance song. So Laura and I were both excited that we chose something unique,” he said. “But, not only that, it has special meaning to us. We listened to Dave Barnes on our first date.”
The final vendor session was all about Laura — no bridegroom allowed at this one.
Earlier this month, Laura visited Austin Springs Spa and Salon at the Carnegie Hotel for her hair and makeup trials. The spa and salon will take care of Laura’s hair and makeup on her wedding day.
“I was so excited for this day of pampering. As soon as I walked into the spa, I was greeted and made to feel so welcome. It’s always nice to feel comfortable at any type of appointment, especially if you’ve never been there before,” Laura said.
The first item on the day-of-pampering list was Laura’s makeup with licensed aesthetician, Cynthia Bradford.
“Cynthia did a fabulous job. I had a picture picked out of a smoky-eye look that wasn’t too dramatic, but I knew it would be perfect with my dress and with the hairstyle that I wanted. She absolutely nailed it,” Laura said.
After her makeup was complete, it was time for stylist Gianina Pezzimenti to do Laura’s hair.
“I had a picture to show her for my hair, as well. I am wearing a long cathedral veil during the wedding ceremony and then switching to a beautiful ‘blingy’ headpiece for the reception, so I wanted something elegant and traditional,” Laura said. “I definitely don’t want to look back on my wedding pictures and think, ‘What was going on with my hair?!’ So, I felt pretty comfortable playing it safe with a simple half-up style with long, loose curls. Gianina made my hair look fabulous. She knew the exact look I was going for.”
Laura says she left the spa that day feeling like a princess.
“And I’ll be honest with you, there have been very few times in my life where I have truly felt beautiful, but this was one of those times. I wanted to cry, but knew I would ruin my makeup!” she said.
Following her appointment at Austin Springs, Laura met with her photographer, Anna Hedges, for her bridal portraits.
Before winning the Dream Wedding package, Laura and Matthew had planned to get married on Laura’s family farm in Gate City, Va. Even though their venue changed after winning the contest, Laura still wanted to incorporate a little bit of that old-fashioned, country feel into her and Matthew’s special day. She has said all along that the theme of their wedding is “Lavender and Lace.”
Continuing with this theme, Laura chose Alison and Ken Gilliam’s lavender farm in Johnson City as the site for her bridal portraits.
“Their home is a gorgeous historic plantation house that was built in the 1800s. The scenery was absolutely stunning there, and I know Anna got some great shots,” Laura said. “The front porch of Alison and Ken’s home was immaculate. Ken told me the large columns were hand-carved by slaves when the house was built. He also told me that part of the underground railroad ran underneath their property. Having the opportunity to visit such a unique place with a great history was so special to me. At one point when I was standing near the wooden fence surrounding the property, two beautiful horses came up to join in on the photographing. The whole day was absolutely awesome!”
Laura and Matthew both say they have felt so blessed to have had the opportunity to be chosen as the Dream Wedding couple and have continually been amazed by the gifts and talents of the vendors who are helping to make their wedding day so special.
“I have said this about every vendor, and I still mean it — I couldn’t have picked better vendors for a ‘dream wedding’ myself. We are so grateful to have had this opportunity to work with such great people,” Laura said.
Following their honeymoon, the Times-News will publish one final story on Laura and Matthew on Sunday, Sept. 29.